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Devastated Kilcummin locals plan to flight parish priest loss

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DISMAY: John Foley and Pat O'Sullivan pictured with over 100 Kilcummin parishioners on Tuesday afternoon, who came out to protest their anger at the shock news that the community will no longer have a parish priest. Photo: Michelle Crean

 

“It’s taking the heart out of our parish”

By Michelle Crean

Kilcummin locals who are “utterly devastated” following news this week that they’re to lose their priest – are planning a public meeting tonight (Friday) in a bid to fight the move.

Locals learned the news, which they said has left them “deeply shocked” and “bewildered”, at the weekly 7.30pm Mass on Saturday night, with the message again relayed at the 9am and 11.15am Masses on Sunday morning by Bishop Ray Browne that Fr Eamon Mulvihill, will be moving on - with no priest to replace him.

Some of the 100 locals, who met on Tuesday afternoon outside the church, told the Killarney Advertiser that the news is a devastating blow to their large community of approximately 2,000 people, which is 11 miles long and five miles wide, hasthree national schools, two nursing homes with up to 100 elderly people – saying they are one of the best parishes in the county for church collections.

Some who were visibly angry, told the Killarney Advertiser that the Bishop casually and quietly mentioned the loss of the priest during his sermon.

Fr Eamon, locals explained, was brought into the parish two years ago and was only getting to know the parishioners, and also brought a lot of the young people back to the church.

They say they are also confused with the news which is “a bolt out of the blue” as the presbytery recently got new windows and doors.

At tonight’s meeting, which is expected to attract hundreds of locals, they will discuss their next move in the community hall at 9pm.

“We’ve nothing against anyone, we just want to fight our corner,” Pat O’Sullivan told the Killarney Advertiser.

“We heard it last Saturday night. The Bishop came and announced it at Mass, and it’s left the whole community in shock. We know to look at our parish priest that he is just devastated - the parish is numb.”

John Foley added that it’s an awful attack on the parish.

“People are disappointed and upset - they’re in shock.”

Locals Dermot and Bernie Lenihan said they are just bewildered with the news.

“We’re devastated. We’re from Kilcummin for generations - it’s going to lose its identity.”

A spokesperson from the Diocese of Kerry said six of the 53 parishes are already without a resident priest.

“The retirement of three priests this summer means that two more parishes will be without a resident priest. These two parishes are Castlemaine in the Killorglin Pastoral Area and Kilcummin in the Killarney Pastoral Area. In each of the two parishes a ‘Planning Meeting’ open to all from the parish is being arranged.”

A full list of changes in each diocese will be released on the Diocese of Kerry website today (Friday).

 

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Valuable role of Kerry cancer support charity recognised nationally

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Cancer support charity Recovery Haven Kerry has been recognised for its vital role in supporting cancer patients and their families at a national ceremony in Dublin.

The renowned cancer support house was one of 16 such centres across Ireland that were presented with plaques to acknowledge their full membership of the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) Alliance – a group made up of voluntary and charity organisations delivering support services directly to cancer patients and their families. An additional 10 associate member charities were also honoured, including Kerry Cancer Support Group.

The Alliance advocates for, and supports, the development of integrated pathways between the cancer centres, acute hospitals, community cancer support services and primary care services. All members’ development is in line with the values of Sláintecare, seeking to provide assurance to healthcare professionals that these organisations are working to an agreed standard as set out in Best Practice Guidance published by the NCCP. 

Speaking after the ceremony, which was held at Dublin’s Farmleigh Estate, Recovery Haven Kerry Chairman, Tim McSwiney, explained that being compliant with the Best Practice Guidance for Community Cancer Support Centres is a true mark of quality. 

“It offers us a yardstick to measure what we are doing against the standards required. As a result, healthcare professionals have more confidence in referring people to our services. We are very proud to be a member of the Alliance,” he said.

Recovery Haven Kerry was represented at the event by centre manager, Gemma Fort and Client Services Co-Ordinator, Siobhan MacSweeney and were presented with their plaque by NCCP Lead for Cancer Survivorship, Louise Mullen, Clinical Lead for Psycho-Oncology Dr Helen Greally, and Minister of State at the Department of Health, Colm Burke. 

The event was also used as an opportunity to announce funding of €3m for the NCCP’s Alliance of Community Cancer Support Centres and Services through Budget 2024. The NCCP is currently in the process of distributing these funds which will directly and positively impact the delivery of services for patients and families nationally.

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‘More Precious Than Gold’ book launch

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At the official book launch of ‘More Precious Than Gold: My enduring connection with John McShain – the man who built Washington’ by Alice O’Neill-McLoughlin at Killarney House, was Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, T.D.

Alice was born the eldest of eleven children into an Irish farming family in Rosbercon, New Ross, County Wexford. In 1978, she was awarded a scholarship from John McShain- the iconic builder, philanthropist, devout Catholic with Derry ancestry, responsible for many famous American landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon.

Her book records the lifelong personal correspondence Alice exchanged with ‘The Man Who Built Washington.’ His philanthropy extended to the Irish people in the bequeathing to the State of Killarney House and the surrounding thousands of acres incorporating the Lakes, Ross Castle, and Innisfallen Island. In 2019, Alice had the honour of inducting John McShain into the Irish America Hall of Fame in her home town of New Ross in the presence of his relatives from Philadelphia and Derry. This is a tale of altruism, of gratitude, of faith and of a life lived in the pursuit of excellence.

Alice also donated her treasured correspondence of letters from John McShain for the archive at Killarney House. Also in attendance were Members of the Ignatius A. O’Shaughnessy family, who was founder of The Globe Oil and Refining Company – and part of a consortium of wealthy American businessmen who were going to purchase the lakes of Killarney as a Country Club in the 1950’s.

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